By Qurat ul ain Siddiqui If pressed, Pakistanis would probably give 2009 mixed reviews. Throughout the year, political problems – clashes between the government and opposition; a failure of the civilian and military establishments to see eye to eye; wrangling between the centre and the provinces – and the slow march of extremism, in the form of militant posturing and suicide attacks, have vied for headlines.
PointWise By Dr. Khalil Ahmad 1. The furore against the Kerry-Lugar Bill in Pakistan is politically-motivated. Among other things which include opposition to the US government and to the Pakistan Peoples Party especially its present leadership, it has its roots in the mindset that has been nurtured through the last six decades by the Pakistani establishment. One of the most important characteristics of this mindset is its concept of charismatic sovereignty of Pakistan which gets hurt just by any hint of ‘bilateral relations’ of any type with any country. It may be termed as upholding an isolated sovereignty or an all-dominant sovereignty in a world populated with a large number of sovereign countries. 2. That we are unable to see the merits of the KLB in its proper context is both cause and effect of this fuss persisting from the highest military ranks to the lower intellectual strata of our society.
By Shandana Khan Mohmand 19 Oct, 2009 THE Kerry Lugar bill, its conditionalities and the controversy it has created have all received excellent attention in these pages over the last few days. Most of the points about the country being misled in understanding the bill by a frenzied media have also been made. However, two key questions remain: what are the citizens of this country thinking when they give in to this media frenzy or to the army’s self-interested rhetoric? And why, after all these years, are we not able to differentiate between the army’s rightful role as defenders of Pakistanis, and its wrongful role as a political force?
By S.M. Naseem Dawn- Saturday, 17 Oct, 2009 The challenges facing the Pakistani state — both domestic and external — continue to mount and periodically bring it to the brink of disaster. Whether through an act of Providence or the delicate balance of forces which keep propping up the state, the ‘existential threat’ gets averted. The last two years have been especially traumatic and have taken the nation on a roller-coaster ride of hope and dismay. Democracy by itself may not bring tangible rewards for the population in the short run, but it does rekindle the hope of future advancement and wellbeing for many. The February 2008 elections did raise such hopes.
A senior USAID economist, C. Stuart Callison, has written a formal dissent memo entitled “Dissent memo: Contradictory objectives for USAID/Pakistan program,” to the Director of the State Department Policy Palnning Office, which tells that the USAID mission in Pakistan is “receiving contradictory objectives” from Holbrook about U.S. aid for Pakistan. [The formal dissent memo can be downloaded from Box.Net file sharing on the Blog] Dawn- Oct 13, 2009 WASHINGTON: An economist at the US international aid agency has protested that special envoy Richard Holbrooke is micromanaging a giant package to Pakistan in a ‘shockingly counterproductive’ way, a memo showed Monday. The dispute comes as the five-year, 7.5 billion-dollar US plan also faces intense criticism in Pakistan, where the powerful military has said that the package carries too many conditions.
Eight terrorists attacked the General Head Quarters of Pakistan army, GHQ as it is known as, in Rawalpindi this morning at about 11:30 am. Four of terrorists were killed and two arrested. According to the latest news a member of ”Amjad Faruqi Group” of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in a call made to the office of a prominent news channel has claimed the responsibility of the attack on GHQ. The person has told that they demand: 1- Halt of operation in northern areas 2- Accountability of former President Pervez Musharraf 3- Return of black water and, 4- Closure of Western NGOs The question is that are these really the motives behind the attack? Clearly even the perpetrators would have known that the attack will have no more than a symbolic value. The question is who benefits from this symbolic attack.